North­eastern Uni­ver­sity researcher Glenn Pierce is a co-​​author of a RAND Cor­po­ra­tion study (link​.reuters​.com/​b​y​b​45t) of Los Angeles ammu­ni­tion pur­chase logs from April and May 2004 that found 2.8 per­cent of pur­chases were by pro­hib­ited possessors.

He sees reg­u­lating sales as the first step in ammu­ni­tion con­trol. The second is to put serial num­bers on bul­lets — one number per box of ammu­ni­tion. Allowing police to link a bullet to a pur­chaser would cut the supply of bul­lets into the illegal market sharply, he argued.

A Cal­i­fornia bill to put serial num­bers on bul­lets failed in 2005. Ammu­ni­tion Coding System, a com­pany with a laser-​​engraving tech­nology for bul­lets, said the cost would be “not sig­nif­i­cant” but the industry said it would bank­rupt them. The two sides also dis­agree on whether the serial num­bers are always legible.

Another mea­sure pro­posed in Cal­i­fornia is to require licenses to buy bullets.

Read the article at Reuters →